Asbury Music Professor Leads Italy Performance Tour – Asbury University
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Asbury Music Professor Leads Italy Performance Tour

June 5, 2023

In May, 27 students from the Asbury Chorale traveled to Italy to perform concerts in Ravenna, Florence, Rome, and Palestrina. This trip marked director Dr. Vicki Bell’s sixth international trip with the Chorale, and the fourth specifically to Italy.

“Our trip to Italy was the culmination of two years of rehearsals and preparation for the four concerts,” Bell shared. “A highlight of the trip was singing anthems for a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.”

Lindsey Melhorn ’26 studies music education and shares about her experience on the performance tour: “This was such an incredible experience to learn about Italian art, culture, and history. One of the most meaningful experiences was singing alongside an Italian choir and collectively singing worship songs to God.”

“On our final concert in Palestrina, I met an Italian man named Luigi, who also sang bass,” Canaan Yan ’25 said. “Despite the fact that I don’t speak Italian and he doesn’t speak English, we sang and laughed and communicated in a language that all human beings know — music.”

Marking her 30th year of teaching, Bell has served as professor of music theory and the Chorale director at Asbury University. Since “retiring” from full-time tenured work in 2021, Bell has taught as a senior lecturer and plans to teach six hours in the upcoming academic year.

“Dr. Bell has invested in me both academically and spiritually,” music major Charlie Knox ’24 said. “She prays before class and frequently shares personal stories about seeing God move in her own life.” 

“She has inspired me to pursue music with passion and to serve with humility as an offering to God,” Melhorn continued.

Moving forward, Bell will continue the legacy of making music by passing the role of Chorale director to Dr. Mark Schell this fall.

“For many years, our main objective has been to glorify God through the performance of the best of choral literature,” Bell said. “The future of the Asbury Chorale lies in the capable hands of Dr. Mark Schell, who will continue this strong choral tradition.”

During her time at Asbury University, Bell has influenced the lives of countless students, such as Grammy-nominated professor of composition and music theory Dr. Shawn Okpebholo ’03, who serves at Wheaton College-Conservatory of Music (Ill.).

“Very few professors have impacted me as much as Dr. Vicki Bell,” Okpebholo said. “She was influential in cultivating my love for teaching composition and theory. She encouraged me, prayed for me, and served as a spiritual mentor and role model for me.”

With one-third of Asbury undergraduates (across departments and majors) involved in the Department of Music, ensembles (such as the Chorale, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and more) provide opportunities for students to develop musical skills, learn from expert faculty, and perform on campus, in our community, and around the world. Learn more:

For this year’s Reunion, the Department of Music invites alumni who participated in the Men’s Glee Club and male choral members to rehearse and perform in a fun, low-pressure setting under the direction of Dr. Mark Schell. Learn more:

The Asbury University Department of Music offers a major in music (with emphases in composition and arranging, instrumental performance, pre-music therapy, vocal performance, and church music leadership), a major in music education (with emphases in general music education, instrumental music education, vocal/choral education, and combined instrumental/vocal education), and a minor in music. Learn more: